Fall­ing head over heels

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

THE CHOICE ( PG)

Di­rec­tor: Ross Katz ( Adult Begin­ners) Star­ring: Ben­jamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Mag­gie Grace, Tom Wilkinson, Tom Welling Ver­dict: De­ci­sions, de­ci­sions, de­ri­sion.

JUST in time for Valen­tine’s Day, here comes the movie equiv­a­lent of a red, heart- shaped foil bal­loon at­tached to a cheap plas­tic stick.

Think as much as one sharp thought while watch­ing The Choice, and the whole thing will de­flate in an in­stant.

How­ever, if you can keep be­liev­ing with all your might in the bright, shiny and un­apolo­get­i­cally sen­ti­men­tal ver­sion of true lur­rrrrrrve pre­sented here, you’ll have no choice but to fall head over heels.

As is with the case with most woozy ro­man­tic dra­mas to have oozed from the pen of nov­el­ist Ni­cholas Sparks, it is both aw­ful, and aw­fully hard not to like.

While his de­voted fan­base now know there will never be an­other Sparks movie adap­ta­tion as guilty­plea­sure great as The Note­book, they do seem per­fectly happy with the per­fumed pif­fle Hol­ly­wood reg­u­larly ex­tracts from the au­thor’s pro­lific out­put.

So where does The Choice sit in the Sparks’ cin­e­matic canon? Well, it is not the sil­li­est of them ( cur­rently a tie be­tween Safe Haven and The Best of Me), nor is it the sop­pi­est ( again, hard to de­cide be­tween Dear John and The Lucky One).

No, this one is the most se­date, care­ful not to de­liver the mildest of shock de­vel­op­ments or can­dlelit clinches with­out plenty of ad­vance warn­ing.

Gen­eral spoiler alert : when­ever heavy rain ap­pears in a Sparks movie, a key char­ac­ter has a com­ing ap­point­ment at ei­ther the lo­cal ceme­tery or the near­est hos­pi­tal.)

The need- to- know on the about- to- cud­dle is very straight­for­ward.

Oc­ca­sional an­i­mal vet and full­time party boy Travis ( Ben­jamin Walker) is fated to fall in love with the girl next door. Her name is Gabby ( Teresa Palmer). She has just moved in. She is a fi­nal- year med­i­cal in­tern, and al­ready en­gaged to the most el­i­gi­ble doc­tor in town.

When Gabby’s fi­ance has to go up­state for a few weeks, guess who starts mak­ing eyes at each other? Pretty soon, they’re ex­chang­ing notes ( I kid you not) tied to the col­lars of their pet dogs.

Not too long af­ter that, well, na­ture ac­cord­ing to Ni­cholas Sparks must take its course.

Though Walker and Palmer never quite get around to play­ing be­liev­able char­ac­ters, they do make a be­liev­able enough cou­ple. That will be enough for those who love this kind of fluff.

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